WAYNE, Neb. (WSC Baseball Complex) - The Bemidji State baseball team rallied from six runs down to tie the 16th-ranked Wayne State Wildcats in Game 1 of a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference double-header before falling 9-6, then allowed 11 runs in the first inning of Game 2 on just three hits as the Wildcats completed the sweep, 12-2.
Game 1 was scoreless through two innings, with BSU starter Eddie Johnson sitting down the first seven Wildcat batters he faced in the game. Wayne State’s Ben Albury solved Johnson with one out in the third, however, powering a solo home run to left field to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. The Wildcats then loaded the bases with two out, but Russ Emerick struck out swinging to end the threat and leave BSU trailing by one.
The Wildcats then seemed to take control of the game with five runs in the home half of the fourth inning. Kyle Hansen powered a three-run home run with none out in the inning to put the Wildcats up 4-0, and Mike Sorensen’s two-run homer with one out gave Wayne a 6-0 cushion.
But Bemidji State, which had managed just one hit in the first four innings off Wayne State ace Nick Schumacher, would fight back with six unanswered runs over the next two innings and draw even. BSU plated five runs on four hits in the fifth inning, picking up an RBI double from Jared Podraza, a three-run home run by Bryan Martinka and an RBI triple from Tony Klaers to slice the deficit to a single run.
BSU then tied the score on an RBI double by Matt Pesta with none out in the sixth, a hit which ultimately chased Schumacher from the game. Dustin Nilius came on in relief and struck out the side, ending BSU’s rally at one run and retaining the 6-6 tie.
Tony Meech came on to pitch the bottom of the sixth for BSU. After leadoff hitter Ben Albury flew out to center the Warriors assembled a three-run rally after an error by Klaers extended the inning. Brian Van Driel drilled a two-RBI double into left center to break the deadlock and put the Warriors ahead 8-6, and a Russ Emerick RBI single to left scored Van Driel for a 9-6 Wayne State lead.
Nilius closed the game by retiring BSU one-two-three in the top of the seventh for the 9-6 win. Nilius picked up the win in relief, improving to 6-2, while Meech took the loss for the Beavers and fell to 1-2.
Game 2 was over almost before it began. BSU got off to a good start, as Klaers singled home Matt Middendorf to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the first inning.
But Wayne State battered BSU starting pitcher Bryant Salamone in the home half of the first, teeing off on the Beaver hurler to the tune of seven earned runs on just a single hit. The first four Wildcat pitchers of the game reached, three via walk and one hit by pitch before Salamone could record an out. After the out, Salamone walked two more batters, gave up an RBI single to Travis Oosthoek, then loaded the bases with his sixth walk of the inning before being lifted for Dan Wagner.
Wagner came on to pitch to Mike Sorensen, and allowed a run on a bases-loaded balk before Sorensen connected for a three-run home run to put the Wildcats up 8-1. After allowing a run on a wild pitch, Wagner then gave up a two-run home run to Marc Manganaro. Scott Bidroski, the 14th Wildcat batter of the inning, flied out to left to end the onslaught and leave the hosts holding an 11-1 advantage.
BSU would muster just one run on five hits in the game’s final six innings. Wayne State went up 12-1 on a solo home run by Arnaldo Ovalles in the second inning, giving the Wildcats six home runs in the double-header.
The Beavers scored their only other run in the fourth, when Matt Asche hit into a double play with the bases loaded to score Podraza.
Salamone took the loss on the hill for BSU, falling to 3-4. Wagner allowed five earned runs in an inning and a third in relief, walking three with a strikeout. Their struggles overshadowed a strong relief effort by Josh Langlie, who shut Wayne State out over the game’s final four innings, allowing just three hits and three walks.
The 11-run first was more than enough to support B.J. Wierzbicki, who scattered six hits over six innings to improve to 4-1 for WSC.
The sweep, coupled with Winona State’s two-game sweep of Minn.-Crookston today, officially eliminated BSU from contention for the four-team Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament.
The double-header sweep dropped Bemidji State’s record to 10-37 on the year, 8-12 in NSIC play, while Wayne State improved to 39-11 overall, 17-3 in conference play. The teams wrap up their four-game series, and the 2005 regular season, tomorrow afternoon. First pitch of the double-header is scheduled for noon Central time in Wayne, Neb.